Difference between revisions of "40d:Challenges"

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Can your dwarves build the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism Antikythera mechanism]? Can you program the fortress to play tic-tac-toe? More details at [[computing]].
Can your dwarves build the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism Antikythera mechanism]? Can you program the fortress to play tic-tac-toe? More details at [[computing]].
== Doomsday Clock ==
Build a water or mechanical clock whose final state triggers the support which holds your fortress up or a megabeast out.
See how much wealth you can achieve before the clock runs out.
== Live up to your name ==
== Live up to your name ==

Revision as of 04:46, 28 August 2008

Part of this article was originally taken from the DF forums thread "Goal-Based Dwarf Fortress".

If repeatedly defending a besieged fortress isn't difficult enough for you, here are a few challenges you can set for yourself. You might also want to check out the List of goals for other ways to challenge yourself.

The general goal of Fortress Mode is to survive, acquire wealth, defend your wealth, and become the capital of your civilization. However, many players eventually experiment with challenge builds or other goals. These are some goals to attempt or use as inspiration.

Note: "Challenge Builds" and "Game goals" merged into this page. Somebody else gets to merge the above two paragraphs.


Don't bring any pets. Furthermore, due to the possibility of animals being caught in them, don't build any traps, either. If immigrants bring pets, get rid of the pets somehow. (If you're a particularly rabid ASPCA member, you could get rid of the pet-bearing immigrants, too, but that's probably excessive.)


  • No skills
  • 7 or multiple of 7 of everything you bring

At the start your dwarves split everything equally and move to 7 different locales that are not interconnected. They have to mine their own rooms, plant their own crops, use their own craft piles. This will probably require a bit of cross-fertilization until you get doors and can lock everyone in, but after that it is every dwarf for him/herself!

Dieting Dwarves

Fishing village

Give your dwarves only the fishing skill and other fishing related skills (like bonecrafting.) Try to survive off a fish only diet. Flood the river and build houses above it so the dwarves can fish through their floors. There will be an extra challenge if the river freezes in the winter.


  • No plants or seeds

Only eat strays, pets, and animals you trap and hunt. No farming or plant gathering. Keep all your pets in cages and care for them as little as possible. Eat your dwarves' pets first for an extra challenge. If this upsets your dwarves, ridicule or ignore them. (If you are particularly heartless, you could cage those dwarves as well because anyone that empathizes with animals doesn't deserve any rights either.)


In essence, construct an Elven Forest: The Hippy Challenge.


  • No alcohol

Quite possibly, this is the cruelest challenge that your dwarves can be given. Don't ever brew any alcohol. Build wells instead and watch your now teetotaller dwarves work slower and slower by the season.

Hippy challenge

Peace, man. Don't harm any plants except those you plant yourself. Don't cut down any trees, and don't trade for logs with the filthy humans or dwarves who do. You can trade for plants with the elves, they understand your environmental code. Don't burn any coal, do you know what that does to the environment, man? Never cause any creature's death, so no military, and no lethal traps. You can use cage traps, and either tame the creatures you catch, or release them back into the wild, far from your fort.

For an extra challenge try this in an area with a goblin fort or cave.


  • Six dwarves with only social skills
  • One skilled dwarf

Six courtiers of the king's court made some ill-advised remarks within earshot of the king, and as a result have been ordered to go found an outpost. They've hired you to make sure they survive. The six nobles only have social skills and refuse to do any work that is beneath them.

Fort Geneva

  • Build only nonlethal (cage) traps
  • Sentient creatures (Goblins, etc.) are to be considered prisoners of war and treated humanely
  • Suggested provisions for prisoners: a bed, a personal cell, a commons area, aboveground exercise yard, and the clothes the creature was wearing when captured
  • Inspiration: Geneva Conventions


A well known and popular challenge. Kill off the 6 starting dwarves and any immigrants as they arrive, and try to make a living for the last dwarf.

Humanlike Fortress

Pretend you're a filthy above-ground dwelling humie.

  • Build a town wall.
    • Only hovels and farms outside the town walls.
  • House your dwarves in small town homes
    • 5-10 dwarves per house (they had pretty big families back in the day)
    • upstairs bedrooms, small dining room, maybe a single level basement.
  • House your workshops according to profession, not conveinance.
  • Build warehouses for stockpiles, and set guards outside them.
  • Create a keep, with its own wall, barracks, treasury, etc.
  • Create a market square.
  • Create a main street from the town wall to the market square and/or keep. Well-paved blocks, statues and decorative shubbery are a must.
  • No underground interconnections between different areas.
  • BONUS: Make a fountain at least 3 Z squares high in the center of the keep, with a +statue+(or better) on top of it.
  • BONUS: The fortress is built around a human town.
  • BONUS: Town has an awesome inn operating in same building as the brewery. REGULAR parties there, or it isn't good enough!
  • BONUS: All booze is kept within a town inn.
  • BONUS: An above ground farm complete with crops and cows,mules,horses,etc.
  • ÜBERBONUS : Make all of the fortress out of wood. And have a dragon attack it. Send us pictures!

Hunting Party

  • One marksman/ambusher
  • Two camp servants (e.g. one cook/brewer/herbalist, one butcher/tanner/leatherworker/woodcutter)
  • Four clients, all dabbling in marksman/ambusher but with primarily civilian skills.

No anvil, lots of hunting dogs ... and a haunted wood. (In a terrifying wood, you may find all the trees & plants are dead, severely reducing long-term prospects.)

Immigration and customs enforcement

  • One miner/mason/architect
  • One woodcutter/carpenter/architect
  • Five military dwarves

No anvil, lots of food, in a canyon - spend the first year building fortifications to interdict traffic. Immigrants can build a town around you, but your original dwarves remain dedicated to their mission.

<insert material> Fort


Start on any treeless map and make everything that you can out of wood. That means no underground forts, though you may destroy hills and such. You lose points for bringing wood at the start.


Construct an above-ground fortress made entirely out of glass. Bonus points for not using magma, constructing your fortress under water, or using clear glass exclusively. No stone may be used. Metal may only be used for creating stuff that cannot be made out of glass.


Cleanliness is next to godliness! Soap is in the form of bars, and so can be used as a building material just like any other type of bar. Show those elven traders just how much you despise their philosophies by building your trading outpost out of stuff derived from dead trees and dead animals. Too many cats? Build with cat tallow soap.


Traps and moving bridges are forbidden, water moved for farming must be accomplished by hand.

Master Of One

  • All starting dwarves can have one skill and one skill only
  • No changes are allowed on any dwarf's labor screen
  • All immigrants must stay with the profession(s) they arrive with
  • All peasants must be activated into the military


  • All starting dwarves can have one skill and one skill only
  • No changes are allowed on any dwarf's labor screen, except that hauling may be disabled. You may not enable hauling.
  • All immigrants must stay with the profession(s) they arrive with, and only military that immigrates recruited may be military.


Same as the hermit challenge, only with multiple hermits. Turn off immigrants or kill them. Turn away merchants. If they don't leave, kill them.

The Mad Butcher

(this requires a tiny amount of editing to the raws)

  1. Edit Dwarf Fortress\Raw\object\Creature_Domestic.txt. Remove the tag [BUTCHERABLE_NONSTANDARD] from cats and dogs.
  2. Start with a normal build except:
    • One dwarf should be a dedicated butcher/leather worker
    • buy minimal food
    • bring as many puppies or kittens as possible
  3. Drop all your puppies or kittens into cages or into animal pits as soon as possible.
  4. Dig a shaft 10 or more Z-levels deep, mark the top an animal pit.
  5. At the bottom of the shaft set up a butcher shop, a tanner shop, a bedroom, and some food and leather stockpiles.
  6. Set it all up so that the mad butcher cannot escape.
  7. As you need food, begin selecting animals to be dropped into your deep pit, next to the butcher.
  8. See how long a single butcher, butchering splattered kittens, can keep your fortress fed! Cooking and farming are cheating... raw meat for everyone!


At least 50% of your dwarves should be military 100% of the time, and train in spears, shield use and wrestling. All other dwarves are "helots" and shouldn't be given any skills – they can be pressed into the military during times of war, but given no equipment or at most a bare minimum of inferior weapons. Do not use crossbows or traps. Kill maimed dwarves.

You should refuse trade with caravans, instead attacking them if possible. Whenever a messenger appears, promptly enter aggressive negotiations and throw them down the well screaming; "THIS IS SPAARRTAAAAA...". You should forbid the use of gold and silver (and platinum, etc), the making of crafts, and the smoothing of walls or any other task that makes your fortress "beautiful."

You shouldn't create chainmail or plate armour. You should only brew wine.

Read more about the real Sparta

Human "alliance"

Start a game centered on a human town. Build a wall around the town in stone, using a mine under the town. Do not take anything from the town, though the human guards will probably help with any sieges. For an extra challenge after finishing the wall, dig down to the aquifer and flood the town.


Create a hidden outpost close to a goblin lair. Impact the outside as minimally as possible - dig down right away, and deconstruct the wagon ASAP. No building outside or even going outside. Once your army is ready, launch a surprise attack.


Designing a temple to Armok. Aesthetics count - the god will be very angry if there are no stained-glass windows and domed ceilings carved with frescoes. To gain more favor, make regular sacrifices and keep the fountains and rivers red with blood.

The great brewery

Disaster has struck the kingdom. A strangely glowing peasant visited the greatest brewery of the empire, and as a result the whole thing exploded. No time for weeping — create its successor, a fort dedicated to alcohol production, and get the alcohol supplies flowing! Try to make the widest variety possible, and give or trade it to the dwarven caravan each year.


Build a castle, greater than anything built by human, elf or dwarf. Note that this is highly time consuming if you want it to be a good castle. There must be floor indoors, and no underground constructions except for mining operations and cellars. For an even greater challenge, build a gigantic tower in the middle, where the nobles stay.


The kingdom's coffers need lining, so hop to! Found a fort and start accumulating wealth as fast as possible. Attain as high a fortress value as possible, and make most of your wealth into coins for the vault. Try to beat your record for one year, two years, or five years.


Your group of seven has been chosen to assault a goblin fortress – and you're not getting any backup. Turn off immigration, and try to slay the goblin leader and escape without casualties. For extra challenge, bring no picks.


All material, seeds, food, tools, and dwarves must be in the fortress within one year. Then, seal up the entrance. Any new immigrants... well, they might be in trouble. Survive for as long as possible!

Retirement resort

Build a dwarven paradise, free from labor. All peasant immigrants should be removed from every job, including hauling, and given a great place to live. Make sure to include fun activities and plenty of parties.


All your dwarves have all labors enabled. Dwarves sleep only in barracks, and no dwarf, including administrators, can be assigned any personal rooms. If the nobles find this upsetting, don't hesitate to make the corridors run red with the blood of the bourgeoisie. Obviously, don't mint any coins either. (Dwarves can take turns with wood cutting and mining, since they can't have both at once.)

No rocks!

The new king has decided rocks and metals can no longer be used in construction. He'll be overthrown shortly, but in the meantime construct your fortress using only wood.

Anything that can be made out of wood, will be made only from wood. Doors, tables, chairs, floodgates, bridges, stairs, workshops, you name it. For even greater challenge, build it entirely above ground with wooden walls and floors.

Underwater fortress

Encase your entire fortress in water! Your fortress should be watersealed, and surrounded by water against all walls. Water should be covering the top of your fortress as well.
You can achieve this by diverting a lots of water, or digging into a frozen lake.
Bonus: Build all water-touching walls/roof in clear glass!
Alternative: Use magma instead of water!
Alternative: Build it in the Ocean

Mountain audit/core sample

Start in a mountainous area and strip mine everything down, down, down to ground level. Stockpile everything, and calculate the mountain's composition. For kicks, try not excavating one tile on each z-level. You'll be left with one enormous core sample.


Make two separate, working, independent fortresses. All the men go in one, all the women in the other. Married dwarves are excluded from both.

No singles

As soon as you get a married couple with an immigration wave, kill all single dwarves. Continue to do so with all immigration waves. Try to lose no children.

Santa Claus

Get ten thousand toys built and offered to caravans yearly. Optionally, build ten thousand toys, fetch them in adventure mode and deliver them to every single city of the world.

How high can you go?

Construction, construction, construction! Just how big a tower can you build? Out of glass maybe, clear glass? Steel? Pump water to the top? Make your tower a pinnacle of achievement and stun humans, elves and goblins alike - for they know nothing of construction and engineering like dwarves do!


Can your dwarves build the Antikythera mechanism? Can you program the fortress to play tic-tac-toe? More details at computing.

Doomsday Clock

Build a water or mechanical clock whose final state triggers the support which holds your fortress up or a megabeast out. See how much wealth you can achieve before the clock runs out.

Live up to your name

Go with the random name chosen by the game for your fortress and group. Make a handicap/play style based on your group's name, and a personal goal based on your fortress name. For example, if your group is The Iron Fist, your military must consist only of wrestlers in iron armor. If your fortress is Prisonportals, you must capture and jail as many goblins/creatures as possible, and all doors in the prison must be made of glass.


Equaland: where we are all Equal, besides the Almighty Leader. Each dwarf must have their own bedroom, dining room, etc. Make a large tower in the center of your perfect land and put "The Leader" in it. Then make some kind of mechanism to kill the dwarves inside their dwelling, complete with levers so that The Leader can choose who dies next. If dwarves have one too many friends kill them, if they eat too much food kill them, etc.

World Domination

Pretend you are an evil mastermind. Now come up with some device or machine to render the world (or at least your portion of the map) totally unliveable, aside from, of course, your hidden lair.


  • Flood the map with water/magma (may require building walls around the edge of the map)
  • Build an "Earthquake Machine" (the entire map is supported by a single support, which is connected to a lever)
  • Build an extensive holding cell network for "scientific purposes". Fill it with megabeasts and elephants in secret. Have a lever that lets everything free to feed on the general population.

Inuit Dwarfs

Live out on a glacier with no surrounding trees and just rely on the ice and your woolly underpants. Actually, you might want to get the full attire, it's going to be cold!
BONUS: Make a giant tower completely out of ice with your dwarfs living in it.
BONUS: Make everything out of ice.

Government in Exile

All dwarves are either nobles, or in the military. The only useful dwarves you'll have will be your broker, manager, mayor, bookkeeper, and dungeon master. If you can survive until the sheriff arrives, transfer your entire military into the fortress guard. With a little luck, and a lot of exported roasts, you too can rule without proletarian interference.

Stay Awhile, and Listen

Create a world with a lot of large caves and make it possible to see them on the embark map. Build a Fortress near a large cave with a lot of big angry monsters in it (hopefully not too close) and loot lying around that becomes a frontier town for adventurers seeking to clear out the nearby 'dungeon'.

Train up dwarves to become parties of heroes who will descend into the dungeon for fame and fortune (or more likely severed limbs and death). Parties should only be about four or less. You can defend your fortress but luring monsters out into your siege engines is cheating. Give yourself points for large monsters killed and treasure claimed.

BONUS: Only solo adventurers are allowed to enter the dungeon.
BONUS: Only use 'Thieves' to steal loot and create traps inside the dungeon.